World’s largest airline catering operators Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC), along with Crop One Holdings, a San Francisco Bay Area are in process of building a substantial vertical farm in order to provide the produce for onboard flight meals. Being the prime airport by passenger transfer, EKFC caters to Emirates Airlines along with the other airlines at the airport.
As of today, when passengers board their flights at the airport in Dubai, most of the time the in
food that is provided comes from the traditional farms. It is further reported that by 2020, most of the flights departing from the Dubai International airport would server greens and herbs that are grown from a high tech-source.
The construction would start in November 2018, while the delivery of the produce would in the month of December 2019. They would cater, EKFC customers, which includes 105 airlines and around 25 airport lounges.
The hi-tech farm would be located in Dubai, with an indoor area of 130,000 sq feet and estimate produce of up to 6,000 pounds of green and herbs every day. Crop One Holding would use LEDs to, unlike the traditional farms. This would enable them to provide produce around the year. This farm would be climate controlled, where they would be set to the most appropriate temperature and oxygen levels as per the crop. Instead of the traditional soil, the crops would be spring on in nutrient-rich water beds. Sensors placed would provide the status of the plants in real time.
As per to Sonia Lo, Crop One's CEO, most of the airlines have a higher dependable demand than grocers. "Airlines are attractive because they give our farms anchor customers that have a predictable volume and price." Lo was referring to the financial challenges that a number of huge organizations have faced in the past, which includes Panasonic and Google since these farms depend on the huge amount of electricity consumed by LEDs. The high produce cost makes it complicated to compete with the produce coming from traditional farms.
Crop One could defiantly find success, but only the new Dubai farm manages to level as promise in lowering the production cost. In the coming years, Crop One plans to launch 2 farms in the Northeast and Southwest region each, trading to nearby retailers and customers.